Elder Matthew Nielsen

"You are assigned to labor in the Brazil Fortaleza East mission"

Some Awesome Service Projects!

Hello Family and Friends!

I hope all of you enjoyed Easter. And I hope you enjoyed listening to General Conference. It was awesome!

This week all 8 missionaries in this area gave a presentation to a local high school where we helped the kids to come to understand the LDS church and the importance of Pascoa or Easter. There were about 120 students and teachers who attended this. After we spoke, we showed a brief video clip that the church produced for the Easter season. I was so nervous using my 6 months of Portuguese in front of a huge audience! But it was an absolutely wonderful experience and I enjoyed every minute of it!

We had another service project this week where we helped to clean a group of houses in an area in the city that had been majorly damaged in a flooding that was caused as a result of heavy rains these last two weeks. The flood waters entered these houses and left everything covered in mud. I’m glad I got the opportunity to lend a helping hand to those people who basically lost everything.

General conference was AMAZING. Brazilians watch General Conference off of the church’s website. It was great that I could watch the first 2 sessions of conference at the homes of investigators (an elderly couple, and the other a family of 7). The other sessions, I spent in the home of a member of the church here (the father of the family was one of the first members to arrive in Araripina).

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. During the Easter holiday, I found it interesting that the local kids imitated Judas, who betrayed Christ, by dressing up in rags, covering their heads with a cloth (space for their eyes), and covering themselves with bells. Their motive was to call attention to themselves so that people would give them money to fast during Easter.
  2. This week was the holy week and because this city is mostly Catholic, not one food establishment sold meat. Literally, if you wanted to put a slice of ham on your fresh bread from the local bakery, they would either not have it in the shop or they would not sell it to you.
  3. People here think the missionaries are book salesmen.
  4. At Easter time, all grocery stores sell ovos de pascoa or large chocolate eggs. These chocolate eggs are wrapped in colorful wrapping paper and put everywhere in the store. When people think of Easter, they get excited about these large chocolate eggs sold in the stores.

I just wanted to express my gratitude for the real significance of Easter. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are given eternal life and the opportunity to live with God again if we are willing to accept him in our lives and follow his example. What an amazing example he is to me of what a man ought to do and say. I pray that we all strive to understand the real significance of the Savior’s sacrifice.

Have a great week!

Elder Nielsen

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